Allie Teilz is one of those superhumanly driven multi-hyphenates that manage to excel in fields that others pour their entire lives into, making it all look impossibly easy. As if actress-DJ-model-musician wasn’t enough, she has now earned yet another appellation: fashion designer. We were lucky enough to join Allie and crew at uber-hip Silver Lake standby Tenants of the Trees to celebrate the release of her debut collection, “a line of affordable luxury suits for women, men, and agender with rock ‘n’ roll swagger,” inspired by the likes of luminaries like Grace Jones, Apollonia Kotero, Annie Hall, Bianca Jagger, and Erykah Badu.
We spoke to Allie about her new line, her many pursuits, and why fashion needed some shaking up:
It’s still not too common to see a fashion line designed for “women, men, and agender” clientele—what influenced you to do so? Do you think that the larger fashion world still maintains a certain gendered or binary approach, or do you see that breaking down?
It’s very important to me that no one feels excluded by my brand. I believe that everyone should feel confident, strong, and sexy. Music, art, and fashion can build bridges and spark movements. To me, suits have always been the clothing that evokes the greatest sense of power, and I want to share that feeling with everyone. I do see the fashion world and society start to break down the boundaries of gender, but there is still so far to go. I’d love to see this movement travel from major cultural hubs to the masses.
It’s an oft-leveled criticism that high fashion is usually unaffordable to all but the most well off, which makes it neat to see a purposefully “affordable” line. What made you decide to price your line at the point you did? Is “affordable” a stigma or an asset? Does the fashion world cater too much to elite clientele in your opinion?
Affordable to me is a massive asset. Offering something that feels luxury and is yet affordable without compromising quality in fabrications, manufacturing and in fair labor practices. I have no interest in making things that are unattainable. My brand will always be accessible and unpretentious. With my brand I want to set an example of advocating inclusivity and hope that inspires others in the industry to follow in building brands that promote such values.
Can you talk a little bit about your path as a designer? Were there any challenges or difficulties you faced as a first time designer coming from the music world? What inspired you to take those challenges on and to create this line?
From a very young age I was customizing and making my own clothes. I would find inspiration from the cover art of my records, music videos, and soul train reruns. When i started DJ-ing I took my style to the next level, and when I moved to close to LA’s fashion district in downtown, the ceiling shattered. It was very challenging to build this collection, especially coming from a musical background and without formal training where I had only dabbled in simpler designs and alterations. I was motivated to create something that channeled a strong message and that was different from what was out there. It’s amazing how music and fashion inspire each other, and how the internet makes anything you dream of and want to learn available at your fingertips. I’ve learned so much and its been very rewarding to see it come to life.
How did the idea for this line come about? What did the process of executing the idea look like?
The idea sparked when I was on a press tour with my boyfriend at the time. I had spent the afternoon wandering the streets of Rome looking for a nice outfit for the premier I was attending. It was difficult because I didn’t vibe with anything I saw. His stylist brought him a rack of beautiful suits and I slid one of them on that was small, it was the first time I wore suit and it was instant love. The suit then became a staple in my closet and my uniform during gigs. I then realized that no one was making sexy suits for women, and I became tired of buying and altering men’s clothes for my frame so I began navigating the fashion world and teaching myself the science behind tailoring and making clothes. What started as making custom suits for myself and friends that dug them and wanted them for tours organically grew into the collection we launched ALLIE TEILZ with.
Did you have a certain type of person in mind when designing these clothes? Who would you like to see wearing them?
When designing clothes I imagine the entire spectrum of humanity rocking my threads. Anyone from the young girl entering the workforce, the seasoned business lady, to the punk teenager going to prom. My brand is definitely music centric, so I love to see musicians and performers wearing them on stage. Also, thinking back to my younger teenage angst years and remembering how I was never able to find a suit in high school, I would really really love to see other outcast teens adorned in my pieces. In the end though, I really make clothes with everyone from all shapes, sizes and walks of life in mind.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Will fashion be a focus going forward?
At the moment we are working on the next collection while finishing up an EP and planning an Asia tour. Fashion will forever be a focus for me and I look forward to evolving this brand and taking it around the world!
Photography by Jason Agron / BFA
Written by Sid Feddema